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Old 05-20-2005, 12:12 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question '69 Ironhead Sportster?

There is a '69 Sportster being sold locally that I'm considering purchasing.

I believe its an Iron Head. The motor has been "redone". New transmission, belt drive primary.

Any major issues with sportsters from '69? Any specific questions I should ask or things I should check out?

I currently have a '03 XLC that I use a a daily commuter. I've been putting off customizing it for various reasons. If the '69 turns out to be reliable, I probably just sell off the '03.

As my work schedule permits I probably only take 2 long distance trips a year. Am I going to have a problem finding service assistance if there is a break down?

Thanks
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Old 05-20-2005, 05:43 PM   #2 (permalink)
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There is a '69 Sportster being sold locally that I'm considering purchasing.

I believe its an Iron Head. The motor has been "redone". New transmission, belt drive primary.
It is an Iron Head

Any major issues with sportsters from '69? Any specific questions I should ask or things I should check out?
The whole bike !!!

I currently have a '03 XLC that I use a a daily commuter. I've been putting off customizing it for various reasons. If the '69 turns out to be reliable, I probably just sell off the '03.
I wouldn't depend on the 69 being a daily driver or even reliable. Not that it can't be, but you never know what someone else has already done to it. Being a 69, it probably has the shifter on the right side and brake on left (pain in the A$$). Also it is kick start and that will be no fun at all. It may have a magnetto on it for ignition and the old mags aren't much fun either. If you are expecting anything like your 03 you WILL be disappointed. I had a 69 and I would never have another.

As my work schedule permits I probably only take 2 long distance trips a year. Am I going to have a problem finding service assistance if there is a break down?
Yes !!

Thanks
Your welcome
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Old 05-20-2005, 06:23 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Had friend who was sold on the "old" bikes, '77 & '78 were the ones he shopped for.
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Old 05-20-2005, 07:59 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Springer, thanks for the comments. I'll have to check it out to decide if its something I'd enjoy. I suppose I can add a touring bike later, once I marry a rich woman; and have the '69 for cruizing around. I'm pretty sure the '69 pulls harder than my 883 (never got around to up'ing the engine).

Wasn't the '77-78 AMF? I don't use their bowling balls, I probably wouldn't ride their bikes (I thought I read somewhere the quality under AMF was very poor). Though '77 would be kind of sweet as thats my birthyear. But, '69 just sounds cooler
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Old 05-20-2005, 11:40 PM   #5 (permalink)
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the 69 may well be a 900 which is the same size as an 883.I'm curious in first post you mentioned new trans and belt drive primary???to my understanding they are chain drive(internal in oil)
AMF years carried right up to early 81 and any of them have long since had all bugs worked out and it is had to find any one with knowledge on them let alone parts
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Old 05-21-2005, 12:07 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Springer, thanks for the comments. I'll have to check it out to decide if its something I'd enjoy. I suppose I can add a touring bike later, once I marry a rich woman; and have the '69 for cruizing around. I'm pretty sure the '69 pulls harder than my 883 (never got around to up'ing the engine).
The 69 is only a 900cc and pulls harder because it has higher compression. Upping the 833 to 1200 is only $750 + labor and will yeild a lot more pull than the 69 ever thought of having.

Wasn't the '77-78 AMF? I don't use their bowling balls, I probably wouldn't ride their bikes (I thought I read somewhere the quality under AMF was very poor). Though '77 would be kind of sweet as thats my birthyear. But, '69 just sounds cooler
AMF is from 70 to 81. I don't use their bowling balls either but I ride one of their bikes (avatar) and don't have any quality problems with it. I thank AMF for saving the company, as well as designing the 5 speed tranny, the EVO motor, rear belt drive, FXR, Rubbermounts and a slew of other innovations that made Harley what it is today.

The 77 would be a 1000cc and would at least have disc brakes unlike drums on the 69.
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Old 05-21-2005, 02:34 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Springer is on the money here. don't get a 69 ironhead for a daily rider unless you like kicking a lot, they can be a little touchy sometimes. build the 883 to a 1200 and be happy and if you want buy the ironhead for an occasional runaround bike.

btw how much do they want for the ironhead?
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Old 05-21-2005, 08:24 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I started riding harleys in 1974, first one was a 69 xlch 6 over no rake,drag pipes, su carb. rode the sh*t out of it. wasnt uncommon to leave a bar in eastern nebraska at closing time and hit the bars in Denver early in the a.m. no problem! maintain the charging system, gear it up and if its put together right should be pretty much trouble free ride. oh yeah if your going to do burn outs and wheelies, replace stock rivets in wheel sprocket with ones, made from 16 penny nails.
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Old 05-21-2005, 09:45 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tequacha
I started riding harleys in 1974, first one was a 69 xlch 6 over no rake,drag pipes, su carb. rode the sh*t out of it. wasnt uncommon to leave a bar in eastern nebraska at closing time and hit the bars in Denver early in the a.m. no problem! maintain the charging system, gear it up and if its put together right should be pretty much trouble free ride. oh yeah if your going to do burn outs and wheelies, replace stock rivets in wheel sprocket with ones, made from 16 penny nails.
In 74 the '69 was only 5 years old and probably unmolested. Now it is 36 years old and been worked on countless times. Who knows whats been done to it.

I am not against older bikes but you should expect the worst when buying one. In the original post he asks about reliablity and potential problems, to me that sounds like he doesn't know what he is getting himself into. If you don't wrench your own bike and aren't prepared to work on it on the side of the road, I wouldn't recommend a 36 year old sporty. In 74 I would of, but this is 2005.
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Old 05-21-2005, 06:12 PM   #10 (permalink)
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like I said PUT TOGETHER RIGHT. age has nothing to do with it. I.E. lots of 15 year old trailer queen H.D.s around with real low miles, more and more old knucks, pans and shovels being put together with untold amount of miles.I know people who ride 39-43 flatties regularly. Believe it or not there were alot of h.d.s ridden as regular riders, cross country what ever reliable to. Long before evos, block heads, fatheads and v-rods. gotta ride gotta decide should it be 77fxs 00superglide or 04 v-rod? decisions decisons
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Old 05-21-2005, 07:03 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tequacha
like I said PUT TOGETHER RIGHT. age has nothing to do with it. I.E. lots of 15 year old trailer queen H.D.s around with real low miles, more and more old knucks, pans and shovels being put together with untold amount of miles.I know people who ride 39-43 flatties regularly. Believe it or not there were alot of h.d.s ridden as regular riders, cross country what ever reliable to. Long before evos, block heads, fatheads and v-rods. gotta ride gotta decide should it be 77fxs 00superglide or 04 v-rod? decisions decisons
I am not trying to start a fight here. That is your OPINION and since I am an American, I too am entitled to an OPINION. All I am doing is stating my OPINION.

Unless this bike was built completely of new parts and "Put together right", age has everything to do with it. 36 years of fatigue on any original parts will take it's toll. Do you want to ride a bike with a 36 year old axle? Do you want to put your life on drum brakes on a daily driver in the traffic of 2005? What about shifting on the right, is that safe to learn on the roads today? Ever had sportster knee or know anyone that did?

I would buy a 69 sporty if it was all original for the purpose of owning a "Classic", take it to a show or two, maybe drive it to the bar once in a while, but never as a primary ride.

15 year old "trailer queens" are still EVO's with lots more modern technology than any bike HD made in 69 or even 79.

BTW, I was just trying to give him some insightful information to help him in his decision. Bringing to light some of the points that might be overlooked at first glance.
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Last edited by springer-; 05-21-2005 at 07:11 PM.
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Old 05-21-2005, 11:38 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I wrench my own bike... but am not yet prepared for doing it on the side of the road. He was asking $3500, which according to NADA was in-line for "fair" condition (though I was gonna offer a tad less). Of course he hasn't returned my calls or email from Friday.

Perhaps the money is better spent enhanching my current ride. I'm just apprehensive "investing" more money in the '03. My mistake buying "new" for my first bike. My intention with the '69 was to have both a classic and a daily rider in one. That doesn't seem very realistic now, especially with my limited wrenching skill.

One of the additional questions I asked was about the engine. Here's his original listing: "69 sportster motor redone by boys n toys in new haven,new trans,fresh paint belt drive primary,nice bike very fast 3500 o/b"

Of the many questions I emailed, I forgot to ask an important one: "Is the new paint covering any rust?". Its a basic paint job, makes me wonder whats beneath.
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Last edited by TheTick; 05-21-2005 at 11:40 PM.
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Old 05-22-2005, 01:06 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Take a look at this thread, might help you decide

http://www.v-twinforum.com/forums/sh...ad.php?t=53572
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Old 05-22-2005, 02:56 AM   #14 (permalink)
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petelogan is reading this now saying WTF is this?
As usual, I find myself on both sides of this fence

While I totally disagree with Springer about everything he says about old age, like 36 year old axles for instance, I completely agree with him that if you are not sure what you are up for and have done it before, then taking on a bike like that is somewhat akin to jumping off the top of the Empire State carrying plans for a hang glider.

You might make it

'Course, what do I know. I ride an '80 But everyone is right here. If the bike has been done right, then it will be as good as anything out there. If it hasn't, then you can plan on a lot of wrenching and a lot of $$$ to get it right.

To be honest, the description (engine rebuild, belt primary conversion etc) and the low price says to me that something's not right. It feels to me like someone started out to do the bike right, but ran out of money halfway through and is bailing out. Of course, that's just my feel, and may be completely wrong. It would be interesting to know how long the seller has owned the bike.

But the only way to know for sure is to check the bike itself. I would get an engineer's inspection if such a thing is available where you are.

If a complete, running '69 sporty were available here for $3500, I would buy it. But then a complete running anything here starts around twice that money. In your position, I think I would take another look at the 1200 conversion route.

Pete
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Old 05-22-2005, 09:05 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by springer-
I am not trying to start a fight here. That is your OPINION and since I am an American, I too am entitled to an OPINION. All I am doing is stating my OPINION.

Unless this bike was built completely of new parts and "Put together right", age has everything to do with it. 36 years of fatigue on any original parts will take it's toll. Do you want to ride a bike with a 36 year old axle? Do you want to put your life on drum brakes on a daily driver in the traffic of 2005? What about shifting on the right, is that safe to learn on the roads today? Ever had sportster knee or know anyone that did?

I would buy a 69 sporty if it was all original for the purpose of owning a "Classic", take it to a show or two, maybe drive it to the bar once in a while, but never as a primary ride.

15 year old "trailer queens" are still EVO's with lots more modern technology than any bike HD made in 69 or even 79.

BTW, I was just trying to give him some insightful information to help him in his decision. Bringing to light some of the points that might be overlooked at first glance.
sportster knee. not from 69, xlch indicates electric foot. magneto fired stroker pan shovel knee you betcha.
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